Dadblamed Union Army Cow, by Susan Fletcher


Dadblamed Union Army Cow

by Susan Fletcher

ilustrated by Kimberly Bulcken Root

Red Clover Nominee:  2009-2008 school year

  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Pub. Date: June 2007
  • ISBN-13: 9780763622633
  • Sales Rank: 416,772
  • Age Range: 5 to 7
  • 32pp

Synopsis (from

She just won’t git! A Union army soldier can’t shake his dadblamed cow in this uplifting tale based on a true story.

“THAT DADBLAMED COW!” She follows her owner into the Union army and then straight on south to fight in the war. She needs unstomped grass to eat, she gets stuck in the mud, and she’s just plain DANGEROUS in battle. But this peculiar cow also gives the weary soldiers some surprising comforts. Based on stories and newspaper reports from the Civil War and full of lively illustrations, this is a heartwarming tale of one wonderfully dadblamed PERSISTENT cow.

Classroom ideas:


Publishers Weekly (from

Inspired by the true story of a “celebrated cow” that traveled with the Fifty-Ninth Regiment of Indiana Volunteers during the Civil War (a sprightly endnote supplies the details), Fletcher (Shadow Spinner) and Root (Don’t Forget Winona) weave first-class fiction. In their version, the cow belongs to a rank-and-file soldier who thinks he’s left the farm behind. But “that dadblamed cow” just can’t say goodbye. She follows him right onto the train and charms his captain (those big, sad cow eyes are mighty irresistible). And “When the bullets went whistlin’ past our ears, she got spooked and bolted-around a clump of cannon, through a bramble patch, over a hill, and right smack-dab into a pack of horse dragoons,” says the narrator. ” ‘You’re a dadblamed dangerouscow,’ I said.” But if the soldier never stops calling her “dadblamed” he soon values her company: she offers warmth, milk and a reminder of home when the going gets rough. Root’s pencil and watercolor drawings vividly render the Civil War landscape, from the bedraggled encampments to the pitch of a battle. She doesn’t anthropomorphize her bovine heroine, and yet there’s something special about the unnamed cow-she seems as much called to help the soldiers as Clara Barton herself. A terrific read-aloud, and a marvelous approach to history. Ages 5-7. (July)


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